September 11- September 30, 2001 – We Move Aboard

Obviously we choose a memorable day to move. Our sympathies are with all those who had a far more difficult day than we did.

The first mission was to get all the stuff off the floor of the boat and into a closet/locker/out of sight. This was accomplished by Nancy, while Ronnie wisely continued to go to work. We survived the first week none too worse for wear. Tristan and Maggie had a good time; docks are very entertaining places if you are a dog and can sit on the bow watching the traffic go by, rather than carrying out ship's duties like the rest of the crew.

Once Ronnie stopped working on September 14 - a date which will be long remembered as the day we turned the beeper off! – boat preparation began in earnest. The first major project was the restoration of the windlass, which is a critical device for those of us who anchor out, as it raises and lowers the anchor. Without a windlass, Ronnie has to do the raising and lowering, which is not popular. The windlass was dismantled for maintenance, a supposedly simple task of putting grease down the main workings. Needless to say, by the time Ronnie was done the windlass was in many large heavy pieces, some of which made trips to California for remachining, courtesy of our long suffering UPS man. After several false starts (including one where the windlass came together completely and a premature celebration was held prior to it being determined that oil was leaking out the bottom) the windlass was restored to it's former glory on September 29.

Meantime, Nancy focused on supplies. It's truly astounding how many things are required for a trip of this nature. First, we calculate our usage of everything, including alcohol, dog toys, canned tuna, etc. This process tends to lead to interesting discussions, such as who is drinking all that scotch! Once our usage is determined then a quantity equal to our needs for 5 months is purchased and Nancy tries to figure out where to put it on the boat. The first stowage go round produced a pronounced port list. We noticed this because all the water from the dish drainer ran out the back of the drainer and onto the floor!. Nancy then spent several days redistributing everything to correct the list. We now have very little list and are completing a directory of where everything is located so we can find it again. Tristan and Maggie, meanwhile, continue their survey of the dock, often resembling spectators at a tennis match, with their heads swinging too and fro as people walk up and down the dock. They are very popular at the marina and while people often don't remember us, they do remember them.

Herrington Harbor North Marina, where Duet is based, has about 12 boats departing for southern waters in the next few weeks. Most are following the same course as Duet but several are headed for the Caribbean and one is beginning a five year journey away from home. We have met many interesting people, including a couple from England who have been living aboard for 12 years (5 in the Med and 7 in the Caribbean). They are now the keepers of our ladder while we are gone. They will use it to climb onto their boat while it is out of the water and then put it somewhere and communicate to us, via the modern miracle of email, where it is so we can use it when we return. We also met a couple from Kiel, Germany, which is on the Baltic Sea. They crossed the Atlantic last year and spent last winter in the Caribbean. Their boat is 45 years old, made of steel and they have sailed her for over 30 years. We make a practice of doing lots of listening with folks of this level of experience, as we have a great deal to learn.

Duet's departure date is set for sometime around October 12, with the plan being to make flank speed until we reach the middle of North Carolina, somewhere around Oriental/New Bern, where we will slow down. Part of this need for speed is being driven by the weather here; with temperatures in the 40's at night Nancy wants to get south ASAP. Also, we want to have enough time to dawdle through the Carolinas and Georgia before arriving at Bahia Mar Marina in Fort Lauderdale the week of December 3 to meet the family.